‘Radical transparency’: Are we ready for it?

Ray Dalio, founder of the world's most successful investment company, says it's the reason for his success

I first heard Ray Dalio on an episode hosted by one of my favourite podcasters, Tim Ferriss.

The two had met at last year’s TED Conference, which was held in Vancouver, and Ferriss’s talk had involved fear and how to manage it effectively. Dalio was talking about how, over the last 40 years, he had built Bridgewater Associates into a very successful (an understatement) investment firm.

Ferriss later interviewed Dalio on his podcast (the Tim Ferriss Show) but it wasn’t until I heard Dalio being interviewed again by someone I can’t quite remember right at the moment (it will likely come to me when I hit “Publish”) that I heard about his book, Principles, and decided to take the leap.

Getting to the main point (which my family tells me repeatedly), it’s how Dalio decided to operate his company that got me thinking about how much better the entire business community—ours right here in Sarnia-Lambton included—would be if we adopted much of what he advocates.

The first big thing is to exercise “radical truth and transparency.” Basically, if you tell people the truth you won’t have to remember what you said.

But the second part is equally powerful.

Dalio has built an organization—and then taken that message to the world—he calls an “idea meritocracy.”

What that means is simply that the idea wins the argument.

But while the principle is relatively straightforward, the systems and rules around how people behave in making a decision have to be well thought out.

Thankfully, in Principles, Dalio outlines what those rules are, how he and his team learned from their mistakes and built a business community that works remarkably well from the standpoint of his clients and associates.

He also goes further in laying out the way he works (the Principles) that define his success.

Dalio puts a high value on relationships and I think that’s one of the things that will serve our community well if we can capitalize on our strengths.

I’ve come to realize that we have an opportunity before us in working together for a common good.

Even as we compete, we also collaborate, and those who are doing it well (the new Innovation Bridge organization that I’ve written about is an example) are serving as a great model for what can be accomplished if we aim high.

I’ll be writing more about this in the future, but this is a start. I encourage you to dream big and imagine how much stronger we will be if we align our aspirations in a way that’s radically transparent.

I’m looking forward to seeing this all play out.

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